The Map Workshop: how to prepare, what to expect and how to be successful

Discussion in 'Tutorials & Resources' started by fubarFX, Sep 19, 2015.

  1. fubarFX

    aa fubarFX The "raw" in "nodraw"

    Positive Ratings:
    The map workshop
    How to prepare, what to expect and how to be successful

    I have done a fair bit of experimenting with the map workshop and I felt like I should share some of my data. First of all, to get a bit of an idea of what the typical lifetime of a map on the workshop looks like, let's have a look at the stats for koth_occult.


    It seems that it got a lot of attention at first but then traffic became nearly inexistent. Well there's a good reason why. This peak corresponds to the time when the map was in the top 3 maps weekly. The top 3 is always displayed on the workshop's homepage and brings in a lot of views.

    Knowing that, hitting the top 3 weekly and staying there as long as possible should be your one and only priority. If your map doesn't hit top 3, it will be as if it never existed so you have to get there at all costs. The time you spend in the top 3 will largely determine where your map places in the top maps of all times.

    Before you start worrying too much, hitting top 3 is not difficult. If your map has any semblance of quality, it will hit top 3 sooner or later without having you doing much, usually within 1-4 days. You don't really have to go out of your way to promote your stuff because the map workshop is not as competitive as the item workshop. Quality content is few and far between so you can be fairly confident that your map will get up there. While success is easy and fairly accessible to all, here's a few tips that might be useful:

    Have a good thumbnail
    Your thumbnail is your bread and butter. you want views? you need click bait.
    -Having a good screenshot is primordial. If you want to take it a step further, there's no shame in slightly altering the colors to give it more contrast and more vibrant colors (however, it's important that you do not overdo it).
    -Adding text is also a good idea but you have to make sure it doesn't look too tacky. This means having the right colors and having a good grasp of the art of typography (it is a lot more than just choosing the right font). typography can greatly help you in forging a sense of identity and brand for your map so don't go using the tf2 font okay? it's not doing a lot for you. You want to stand out.
    -Borders, I feel like they are generally unnecessary and obstructive but if your screenshot is needing a like extra, A border is a nice goto solution.

    Post at the right time.
    -Have a look at the competiton, try to determine if your map is able to dethrone the current top 3.
    -Have a look at the recent maps, make sure you can compete with upcoming maps
    -Make sure your map is ready. It doesn't have to be perfect or be the final version. you'll know your map is ready if you feel you can get a good thumbnails out of it and get some clicks, also when it looks solid enough that you can start collecting upvotes.
    -Don't post all your maps at the same time. Posting multiple maps at the same time means that your maps will compete against each other for the top 3. Wait for your map to die off before posting an other. This is also true for 5cp/koth projects, even if it is technically the same map, make 2 workshop submissions and spread them out.

    Put forward your best assets.
    -You will probably have screenshots that are more exciting than others, put those first in the slideshow
    -Showcase videos are a nice to have, but they are time consuming and probably not the most effective thing to do (out of koth_occult's 18000 workshop page views, only 350 turned into youtube views). I don't think a video will make the difference between someone upvoting or not. My advice would be to use videos only to show things you cannot show with screenshots, hopefully something very exciting. If your video is spectacular enough, people might share it and that helps you out a lot.

    Don't forget!
    -The description! I'm pretty sure most of steam's community is illiterate but do try to explain what makes your map interesting and what makes it different. Maybe your map has an interesting narrative; come up with a little story about red and blu.
    -Make sure to list contributors. If your contributors have followers, it will improve the visibility of your map so don't neglect this.
    • Thanks Thanks x 12
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015
  2. Anreol

    Anreol L6: Sharp Member

    Positive Ratings:
    Since its supposed that the map workshop will help to creators make their maps go official, thanks for this post.
    Will help a lot of people
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016